Monday, 24 April 2017

German Projectiles - Introduction and Colour and Markings System

German Projectiles

Introduction to German Artillery Projectiles

Classes of German Artillery Ammunition

Class #1: (Fixed Ammunition) Ammunition, the complete round of which, can be loaded into the weapon in one operation.  The cartridge case, containing a primer and propelling charge is permanently crimped to the projectile.

Class #2: Ammunition, the complete round of which, is loaded in two operations.  The cartridge case, containing a primer and a propellant charge is not crimped to the projectile.  The propelling charge is in bags and the charge can be varied at the point of firing.  The projectile is packed and shipped separately, and the cartridge case and propellant are packed as one unit.

The Germans employ cartridge cases in all their artillery ammunition.  The cases are employed for the main purpose of preventing the escape of gas to the rear.


The Germans designate a round of artillery ammunition by the Caliber, Type of Ammunition, (Model No. of the round), Type of Weapon fired from, and (Model No. of the Weapon.)

The caliber of German Artillery Ammunition is measured in centimeters.  The Germans refer to calibers approximately; for instance, the 10.5cm gun is always known as the "s 10cm K.18", (Heavy 10cm Model No.18)

In naming the various types of projectiles, the Germans employ the word, "Granate", (abbreviated "gr." or "Gr.").  "Granate" is used as a base word for all the various types of rounds.  By adding a prefix and/or a suffix to the word, the exact nature of the projectile is indicated.

Prefix added to the word "Granate"

(In order to differentiate between the various types of Armor Piercing Rounds, numbers are added after the word Pzgr.)

Panzergranate 39 -- Pzgr. 39 -- APCBCHE (Armor Piercing Cap, Ballistic Cap [windshield] High Explosive)

Panzergranate 40 -- Pzgr. 40 -- A.P. Shot with a tungsten carbide core

Panzergranate 41 -- Pzgr. 41 -- A.P. Shot with a tungsten carbide core for tapered bore gun (Gerlich gun)

Sprenggranate 41 -- Sprgr. 41 -- H.E. Shell for a tapered bore gun

Suffix added after "Granate"

For the most part the Germans do not give Model Numbers to their artillery ammunition.  In several of the old rounds Model Numbers are indicated.  The numbers used are the lat two of the year in which the round was made standard.  These are only used in the nomenclature when there is more than one model of any specific type.  In the case of the "Pzgr." (Armor Piercing) rounds,  the numbers appearing after the word merely indicates the type of Armor Piercing round and are not Model Numbers.

Rot. or L'spur. (Leuchtspur) included int he designation indicates tracer.

This nomenclature is followed by the word "Patronen" abbreviated Patr., meaning cartridge.  This is the German way of indicating a complete round.  It is similar to the British nomenclature, in that the British use the word "cartridge" to designate all their complete rounds.

The Germans include the name of the type of the weapon in designating their ammunition.  This nomenclature is given in the form of an abbreviation.

In some instances a letter in parenthesis is added to the nomenclature after the word indicating the type of projectile.  These letters are used to indicate material of foreign origin.  The following are some of the letters used for this purpose.

(t) Czech
(f) French
(p) Polish
(r) Russian
(o) Austrian

In some cases the following may be included in the nomenclature:

German --- English
              NA --- New Pattern
        umg --- Modified
     St --- Steel

The following details of stencilling on projectiles are arranged in the sequence in which the markings are normally found commencing at the nose of the projectile.

Z.F.Hbgr - (In black) On the windshield of an H.E.B.C. shell indicates the use of a nose fuze under the windshield

R or Mr - (In black near the tip) Indicates the presence of a smoke box.

Arabic numerals - (In black on the head of the shell just below the fuze hole, or on the body of the shell), indicates the type of H.E. filler.  The more common of these are given below.

The following are some examples of German ammunition nomenclature.

4.7cm Sprgr. Patr. Pak (t) - 47mm H.E. Shell for the A.T. gun of Czech make.

3.7cm Pzgr. Patr. 40 Pak - 37mm A.P. Shot - Tungsten Carbide core for the A.T. gun.

7.62cm Pzgr. Patr. 40 Pak. 36 (r) - 76.2mm (3") A.P. Shot - Tungsten Carbide core for the A.T. gun 36 (Russian design).

8.8cm Sprgr. Patr. Flak 36 - 88mm H.E. Shell for the Anti-Aircraft gun 36.

Color of the Projectile

Projectiles of the latter type are sometimes painted white.  This color appears to be used for projectiles in the experimental stage supplied for trial by the Army in the field.

Band marking is not common use except for a red band above the rotating band in some shells, indicating a tracer, and a yellow band for the 3.7cm aluminum colored H.E. tracer shell.

The place and date of the filling of the projectile, followed by a lot number in black, is on the shoulder of the projectile in the form of an abbreviation.

The Weight Zone of the projectile is indicated by Roman numerals, black in color near the bourrelet.

In the following instances the type of shell, and to some extend the nature of the filling, is indicated by 2.4" letters stencilled at two positions round the shell midway between the rotating band and bourrelet.

The place and date of assembly, followed by a lot number, are stencilled in 4" black or red lettering above the rotating band, e.g., "Lr 4.640L."

Stamping on the Projectile

The following are stamped on the ogive in the order in which they appear.

1.  Acceptace test number
2.  Delivery number, firm and year of manufacture
3.  Firm's proof mark

The following appear on the body of the projectile:

1. An acceptance stamp, water pressure test and an acceptance stamp, second test.
2. Acceptance stamp (Hardness).
3. Shell model number.
4. Delivery number, firm, year of manufacture, acceptance stamp of release.

The following appear on the base:
1. Delivery number, firm, year of manufacture.
2. Projectile model number.
3. Acceptance stamp for fitted base.
4. Acceptance stamp.

Identification of the Fixed Cartridge Case and Charges


Stencilling on side of Case

The following details are arranged in the sequence in which the markings are normally found between the approximate center of the case and flange at the base;

1. The caliber, types and model numbers of the weapons for which the round is suitable are stencilled in the form: 7.5cm KWK 40 (7.5cm, tank gun Model 40).  Where a round is suitable for more than one equipment, the designation of the equipment is stencilled in sequence with the letter "u" signifying "and" as a conjunction.

2. The weight of the propellant charge in grams is stencilled int he form of numerals, followed by the letter "g" below the nomenclature of the ammunition. (e.g. "164g")

3. The nature, shape and size of the propellant charge are stencilled below the marking indicating the charge weight.

The following markings are used to indicate the nature of the propellant

  [Note: My copy is either missing #4 and #5, or they don't exist.]

6.  The red stencilling used to indicate propellant charges of a reduced weight for hot climates may be found near the base of the case, just above the flange, or higher up the side of the case, above the other stencilling.  The marking used:  Tp ---- 25* C.  indicates that the normal or standard charge temperature on which the weight of the charge is based is 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).  The German standard charge temperature for normal European temperatures is 10 degrees Celsius. (50 degrees Fahrenheit)

 7. In some instances cases are stencilled:  "Abgebr Ldg" in red.  This marking is found near the base (corresponding to the position of the Tp - 25* C. marking) and probably refers to the propellant charges of low stability which are to be give priority in expenditure.

Stencilling on the base of Fixed Cartridge Cases

Type of the projectile is stencilled in white or black to the left above the primer hole.

In some instances the Roman numerals indicating the weight classification of the projectile are stencilled in white to the right below the primer hole.

Stampings on the base of Fixed Cartridge Cases

Model number of case.
St. - after model number of case -- indicates a steel case.
Model, Cal. and type of weapon.
Manufacturer's Initial.
Delivery number.
Year of manufacture.

Markings on Cartridge Bags in Fixed Rounds

The markings are the same as those stencilled on the side of the case except that the caliber, type and model number of the equipment are not included.

Markings on Semi-Fixed Cartridge Cases

A cardboard or leatherboard cup is used to close the mouth of the cartridge case in a round where the cartridge case is packed separately.

A label, found on the closing cup, contains information corresponding to the stencilling on the side of the fixed cartridge case.  The information is as follows:

Details of the weapon.
Charge weight.
Type (size and shape of the charge.)
Place and date of manufacture of propellant.
Place and date of filling.
Indication of propellant charges for hot climates.

Cases with steel covers for packing and transport, which are removed before loading, have neither labels nor stencilling relating to the propellant charge except the stencilling "Tp.25* C." imprinted on the base where applicable.  Details of the propellant are available, however, from the stencilling on the charge bags.

Stamping ont he base of the case is the same as that on the base of a fixed round, except that the caliber of the equipment is sometimes omitted.

Markins on the Cartridge Bags of a "Semi-Fixed" Round

These bags are marked similarly to the markings on fixed bags, except that the designation of the weapon is included.  In some cases the caliber is not included.  "Bleidraht im Beutel" indicates lead wire is included in the bag as a decoppering agent.

The number indicating the charge is marked prominently in black.  The letter "D" often follows this number and in some instances the marking is encircled by a red ring.

"Sonderkart" - Supercharge - With certain weapons additional charge sections, to be used for long ranges in place of those in the cartridge case, are supplied in cylindrical cardboard packages.  These sections are numbered in continuation of those supplied for use at normal ranges in the case.  Cardboard packages containing these additional charge sections are marked "Sonderkart" followed by the numeral of the section.

Marking of Primers for "Fixed" and "Semi-Fixed" Ammunition

Designation -- C followed by number.

Example: - C/33
nA - New Pattern
St - Steel

Marking of Flash Reducing Charges

This charge is found in a flat circular silk bag and is identified by the words "Kart. Vorl.", followed by the abbreviation indicating the weapon with which used and the weight of the charge in grams.


Next Time: 7.92mm to 30mm Projectiles

No comments:

Post a Comment